Hassan Abedini: Almost all international medias during past two weeks have tried to shatter the bright image that was portrayed from Saudi regime by petrodollars during past 10, 20 or 30 years – that of a moderate government. Particularly after Prince Mohammad bin Salman coming to power, he tried to give women permission to drive and take some economic measures and do economic reforms. They had also tried to fix their relations with the US and some European countries with signing contracts worth tens of billions of dollars. It seems that the false image they had made of themselves is now damaged. We should know that Saudi regime has been miscreant in the region during past years. And this is not the first time: from invading Bahrain to invading Yemen – which Mohammad bin Salman himself said that in two days they would take care of Yemen and that they could even destroy Houthis in two days. That is because he is defense minister as well. Then something like this happened. Also, their government invited the prime minister of another country called Lebanon – Mr. Saad Hariri – and then they forced him to sit in front of TV camera and resign from his position. So this wasn’t his first time. Now how Khashoggi’s blood is haunting them like this is an interesting issue that has had heavy costs for Saudi regime.
Anchor: The US administration, headed by Mr. Trump, has sent Mr. Pompeo, Secretary of State, to Turkey. It seems that this is an attempt to impact Mr. Khashoggi’s case. Mr. Khashoggi had US Green Card and was a famous columnist of Washington Post – meaning that he was well-known. Now the question is: what is the US administration after by taking such measures?
Hassan Abedini: In the US, there are two scenarios for putting an end to the story of Mr. Khashoggi’s entrance with no return to Saudi’s consulate. One is ending it gently with giving bribes to the parties and actors involved. Of course, Saudis have a long history in giving bribes and are very experienced in this regard. So one scenario is to give bribes. Saudi has invested about $450 billions in the US, $100 billions of which for armaments deals. So the US and Donald Trump – who has a long history of milking others – might say that to put an end to this issue, you have to pay $500 billions. And under these conditions, Saudi Arabia is ready to do so. And you see that during past 3 or 4 weeks, Trump has said at least 4 times that Saudi regime will not be able to stay in power even for two weeks without US support. So this is one possibility. Of course, someone like Kushner is accused of giving the list of opponents to Mohammad bin Salman, because Mohammad bin Salman has a very friendly relationship with Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law. Previously there was the triangle of Kushner, Mohammad bin Salman, and Netanyahu. So they might do this and get the money. And we see that in the beginning, Donald Trump explicitly said that if such a thing has happened, ‘we will strongly react to it’. But we saw that the manager of Al Arabiya – Mr. Turki – immediately wrote an article, saying that Trump is now angry at 80-dollar barrel of oil, but if Saudi government is harmed, the oil’s price might double or triple. This was an implicit threat. Now we see that Mr. Pompeo has come [to Saudi Arabia], and his bag and Mohammad bin Salman’s laughter show that probably Pompeo has brought a list of expenses for Saudi government which will be very high. Many journalists, reporters, and analysts have said that they might bribe Turkish government as well. And some have said that $5 billions have been suggested so far. This number might go very high. But a second scenario is possible as well. Saudi prince has been costly for both Saudis and the region in past 4 years. Now his expire date is over, and he must be removed.
Anchor: Does that mean that this is a possible scenario in the media and politics, and you think we might see this happening in future days and months?
Hassan Abedini: It seems that even France, Britain, and Germany have somehow said that this must become clear to the end. Today I saw it in some European newspapers that Ahmad bin Abdulaziz who is Salman’s brother and is abroad might be appointed as the new king. They have even said the fourth era of Saudis – because Saudis have been ruling over Saudi Arabia in three different eras – might start with this incident.